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Jul 27, 2009

A Taste of their own medicine

The general press is all agog about the headline in the haredi website Kikar Shabbos about the father, Asaf Goldring, who murdered his daughter. The headline read, "Secular Leftist Murdered Daughter".

The headline is unusual for two reasons:
  1. Generally the haredi press would ignore such incidents and not report on them at all. Violent crime is usually ignored by the haredi press, as they consider the topic inappropriate for its audience.
  2. The sensationalist title "Secular Leftist" is perceived as an attack on the secular.
Basically, too bad. It is about time.

Every time a Haredi Jew, or even a DL Jew, is caught for a crime committed, the headlines in the general press always describe them as "Haredi thief" or "haredi abuser", etc. For other sectors, it usually drops the descriptive title, at least from the headline and often from the article as well (you often have to figure it out based on the location (e.g. city) where it took place.

Yes, there are religious people who commit crimes, violent and non-violent. Religious people are human too, and are susceptible to the same weaknesses and temptations as anyone else. Some control themselves, and some do not and commit crimes. If the secular public can smear the haredi/religious community with sensationalist and accusatory headlines, it is about time the haredi press hands it back to them.


  1. A couple points:
    I don't think the press is allowed to use word Haredi in these cases. However they do have other ways of giving away7 the identity.
    I understand why the Charedi press is bitter at this but often minorities do wish to be recognized as minorities לשבח but not לגנאי and I can understand why the majority has a problem with this.

  2. in the case of the haredim, it generally works the other way - they are mentioned לגנאי but not לשבח. for example, last week the little girl fell into the pit in the street. the guy jumped in to save her (unsuccessfully) and ended up himself in critical condition. Everyone called him a hero, but did a single newspaper mention that he was haredi? in the headline? in the article?
    but in cases of abuse or crime, that fact is splashed all over the boldest headlines

  3. While I generally agree that the press is anti-religious (not just Chareidi) and anti-right, this particular comparison is apples and oranges here.

    Was there a secular leftist mass of hoodlums who rioted on behalf of the father in this case?

  4. SG,

    Good point (someone made the same point on Reshet Bet this morning), but irrelevant. From the first articles about any case involving a chareidi, the press makes the identification, even before rioting begins.

    And even if this were not the case, your argument amounts to a "well, chareidim aren't so perfect either" line of thinking. Maybe so, but it doesn't excuse the discrepency in reporting.

    (Thought excercise: if secular leftists did start rioting over this case, do you think the press would start identifying the group to which the guy belongs.)

  5. the only possibel claim, I think, can be that haredim are held to a higher standard as they claim to be living a more moral, ethical, righteous lifestyle.

    but I don't buy it. Nobody secular thinks he is less than anybody haredi. People are secular because they think that is a better lifestyle (unless they are simply depraved, but i don't think that applies to most people) - they think they are more advanced, mor emoral, not tied to religion and its misconceptions, etc. Secular people also believe they are better, and therefore the same high standard should apply.

  6. Yoni, that's why I introduced my post with my opinion on the press's known bias.

    However, at the end of the day, we religious are the ones with the greatest potential for either Kiddush Hashem or, CVS, Chilul Hashem.

    I don't care whether the secular think they are superior. I care about what we're supposed to be.

    And again, I end my comment with being fully aware of the anti-religious slant of the media.

  7. Shy - I agree. from our perspective we should be better, which is why these situations are such bad chillul hashems (chillulei hashem, I guess). Despite the fact that even religious people are human and have failings, it is still worse.

    But from the secular standpoint, they think they are better and we are backwards and unenlightened, so their headlines should not espouse our view of ourselves, but their view of us.

  8. whenever imho you get into a "they're just as bad", you lose the moral high ground.

    She-nir'eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu

    Joel Rich

  9. SG,

    I don't understand. CVS may not be as good as other pharmacies, but why does it constitute a chillul hashem. I think that you are prejudging them since they are not a dati-owned business. Not at all appropriate for the three weeks if you ask me.

  10. I think the secular outrage at charedi failings is because they see the charedim being exempted from army duty - because they are too busy being holy to serve.

    I tend to see their point.

  11. Yoni, I'm against all drug pushers. :)

    Back on topic.

    How to Promote Baseless Hatred, by Rabbi Avi Shafran

  12. I believe in this case the "Secular" part was very relevant (not "Leftist" though), because the father's murder/attempted suicide was a reaction to the mother's hazara betshuva.


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